Category: Health

Jabbed

Jabbed

Last Wednesday Mrs Preen and I were talking idly about when I might get a Covid vaccine. I’m 66 and in Group 5 and the general consensus was, with a bit of luck, I should get a jab around the end of February. Next morning, I turned on my phone (28th January) and a text was waiting saying today was jab day for Jim. There were various vaccination stations on offer but a nearby community hall was offering a tempting 14.40 slot. Reader, I booked it.

I seem to be one of the first in my age group to be offered the vaccine. I wonder if I was seen as vulnerable having contracted prostate cancer a few years ago. My cancer treatment has now finished but I guess I was still seen as having ‘underlying health issues’.

At 14.30 I wandered round to the vaccination centre to find the place buzzing with anti-Covid activity.

An electronic temperature gauge was aimed at my forehead and in I went. A young man, armed with a clipboard, approached and asked me if I needed help filling out the form he was proffering. It was name, address, email address and date of birth. I said I was probably OK with that and I must have passed as I was led into the next room where a nurse was waiting, needle in hand. My vaccine of choice was the Pfizer/BioNTech model and bang, in it went. I was given a leaflet about possible side effects and, more importantly, a sticker.

I then had to wait ten minutes in another room. I guess this was to see whether I was going to faint, develop a desperate need to buy Microsoft products or fall under the spell of 5G telephone masts. Having apparently dodged those bullets I was released back into the wild. The whole thing took around 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The common side effects are:

  • pain at injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • fever

I have a very small amount pain where I was jabbed, but it’s really nothing. Now I have to wait for a week or two for the vaccine to build up protection. It’s unclear when I get the second, booster dose, but it should be in about 12 weeks.

Thanks to all the NHS staff who were without exception friendly, efficient and lovely. Hope it’s your turn soon.

Lockdown lunch

Lockdown lunch

Look what our next-door neighbour gave us, a lovely lockdown lunch. Pizza, humous, gorgonzola, salad all combined with special chili sauce. We gobbled it down, sat in our garden, on a perfect Spring day with the mercury registering a sizzling 25C. How great is that? Thanks Frank, that’s so kind. Almost made me forget what we’re living through.

One thing about C19 is that London life has got significantly smaller and restricted. Social distancing, shielding, self-isolation; everyone now lives a little London life.

We are about to enter our third week of lockdown and so far, the Preen Team are in good health and good spirits. No respiratory complaints; no major fights just living with the new reality. Rusty the dog, who runs on the wolf-pack mentality loves having us all around. Not sure how she’ll cope when we go back to work.

The weather, as mentioned, is now beautiful, which is great, but many are flouting the government’s restrictions on freedom of movement. I went on a bike ride to Battersea Park and the place was mobbed and today I learn that Brockwell Park is closed as 3,000 people visited yesterday.

And talking of freedom of movement, a phrase straight out of the Brexit playbook, it got me thinking that we only seem to deal with a single massive news story these days. We moved effortlessly from Brexit, the great slavering news monster that consumed everything to coronavirus which also won’t allow the squeak of another story to get past it.

Panic buying

Panic buying was the big story two weeks ago, with supermarket shelves apparently stripped by a plague of locusts. This seems to have calmed down somewhat, but it made me realise the power of the supermarkets and the fact that most of the population shop nowhere else. We have a butcher up the road fully stocked with delectable meat products, Andy the fishman still comes all the way from Grimsby on Thursdays and I’ve been toddling up to New Covent Garden to see Alf, Steve and John to get our fruit and veg. No iron rations here.

One bizarre aspect of panic buying is the almost complete absence of flour, particularly bread flour. Imagine my delight on finding it for sale in our local SPA. Gold dust!

Journal of the plague year

I’ve been reading Daniel Defoe’s ‘Journal of the plague year’ and there are spooky resonances. Obviously, what we’re going through now is bad, but during the plagues of the 17th Century somewhere between a third and half of Europe’s population died. A mortality rate off the scale to what we’re facing now.

When it hit, the wealthy escaped to their second homes, sending the country servants back to the city to look after their London houses. Something you can imagine they weren’t too thrilled about. Then there’s isolation. If a member of a household contracted the plague a large red cross was painted on the front door and no one was allowed to leave. Two watchmen (One for the day and one for the night) were posted outside to make sure no one left. Well as you can imagine if you’re closeted with a plague victim then generally the rest of the house contracted it, and everyone died.

Many either bribed their watchman to look the other way or beat the shit out of him and made good their escape. Outside London in places like Walthamstow, then a separate town, they barred those fleeing from London to enter in an effort to halt the spread of the distemper as Defoe calls it. The result was that many died of starvation in the countryside. The rich also holed up in their boats, taking on board massive supplies and not allowing anyone off or on. I haven’t heard this to be true, but you have to imagine there are oligarchs and the like cruising around the Med, with full fridges, living their best lives.

Received wisdom has it that rats spread the plague, no so apparently, it was us. Scientists now believe it was a combination of airborne transmission (droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes) and fleas and lice that lived on humans and their clothes. At the time they thought it was cats and dogs and thousands were killed.

Shutting down the office

Three weeks ago, we packed up our offices in Holborn and all went to work from home. I was one of the last to leave and was chatting with one of the young lads who work with me. He said: “Yeah me and my mates, we call it the Boomer Remover.’ Gulp, did he mean me?

Plogg Blog

Plogg Blog

I’ve started plogging. Actually, I’ve been at it for a while. I guess like any addiction, at first you think you’re in control and you can take it or leave it. Initially I’d go for a while without plogging then suddenly I’d be back at it again until I realised I was doing it every day. My name is Jim and I’m a plogger.

Plogging came from Sweden and is a conflation of the Swedish words ‘plocka uppa’ which means pick up and our word jogging. What you’re picking up is garbage and you’re doing it while exercising.

Environmentalist Erik Ahlström started the craze in Stockholm when he noticed that even in squeaky clean Stockholm, garbage was lining his jogging route. As night follows day a Facebook page appeared and a hashtag (#plogga) was born. Plogging now has a world-wide presence in countries as far-flung as the US, Thailand, Ecuador, and Canada.

As exercise trends go it’s a bit odd as inevitably there’s lots of stopping and starting involved, not to mention a fair bit of bending. Think of it as environmental interval training. I often plogg when I walk the dog which you might call dogging, until you remember that’s a very different kind of outdoor activity.

Research carried out earlier this year by Keep Britain Tidy revealed that one in five visitors to London’s Royal Parks leave litter on the ground contributing to more than 3,000 tonnes of waste collected by park teams every year at a cost of more than £1.7m. So, if you fancy a go, don’t worry there’s plenty of junk to plocka uppa.

So far, my plogging has been rather solitary with just Bucket (the dog) for company, but that’s all set to change. Plogging is coming to our neck of the woods in South London. On Sunday 16th September a ploggathon is happening at Battersea Park. You can walk or run for between one and four miles picking up the trash as you go. Bring a bag, some gloves and enjoy a picnic afterwards, just don’t bring any single use plastic. Sign up here and I’ll see you on the day.

The Unwelcome Guest: Get outa here

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that on occasion I talk about my prostate cancer treatment under the title The Unwelcome Guest. It’s been pointed out that this more serious stuff sits uncomfortably with the flippant flim-flam and fol-de-rol that I usually turn out here.

That being the case, The Unwelcome Guest has been packed into a removal van and dragged kicking and screaming to its own blog. If you want to keep up with the little bastard this is where you need to be as The Unwelcome Guest won’t be appearing on A Little London Life in the future.